By Tom Swanson & Marianne Menditto ● April 2013
Thinking of adding on, or remodeling? Or maybe you just want to spruce the place up a little? Then think about tile.
Made from the very “Stuff of Life”… Earth, Air, Fire & Water… the tale of handmade Mexican tile is one of evolution. No longer just colorful, simple designs on 10cm clay squares… the industry has been improving and innovating. Sizes now range from 5cm to 30 cm, with many new designs coming out all the time. Indeed, handmade Mexican tile is no longer confined to just being square. Round, picket, rhomboid, beveled, arabesque, fish-scale, free-form…the list is endless. This wide variety of shapes available adds yet another dimension of interest to your tile installations.
The range of colors available now is incredible. Our tilemaker in Saltillo has over 13 shades of green alone. Colibri Design is currently working on a series of higher end tiles for them based on 16th century European motifs, in subtle earth colors that appeal to the current North American palate. All of the tilemakers we represent will do custom work, right down to specified colors. And all these wonderful new colors make it possible to create quite realistic works of art in tile mosaic.
Textures have also changed and been improved upon…with new metallics, crackle finishes, three dimensional glazes, reliefs and even sculptural that create their own environment. Don’t forget the glass tiles and figures in molded glass. These fabulous finishes offer diverse options for accenting stone and marble. Stone tiles and slabs make an elegant base for tiled edge treatments backsplashes to add the personal touch.
The variety of quality tile is another improvement. Durabilities range from basic quality that can be used for kitchen splashes, to high quality clays, glazes, and higher firing temperatures that produce tiles for use in fountains. Even with direct exposure to our wonderful rains they will remain undamaged. There are many new and beautiful tiles in the high-fired category. Using the right tile for the job will ensure that your tile work will stay beautiful indefinitely.
Mexican handmade tile has come a very long way in the decades we have been using it. The economic downturn has made the marketplace more competitive than ever. Innovation is the key. The possibilities in handmade Mexican tile are endless, with something for every taste and budget.
Tom Swanson & Marianne Menditto can be reached at www.ColibriDesignVallarta.com